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School board races: Beadles-backed candidates lose, most Moms for Liberty picks advance

Culture war issues are shaping races for several key school board seats in Nevada. Primary results were mixed for overt social conservatives.
Rocio Hernandez
Rocio Hernandez
EducationElection 2024K-12 Education

None of the candidates backed by Robert Beadles, an election denier, far-right provocateur and prominent GOP donor, will advance in their races on the Washoe County School Board, according to preliminary results from Tuesday's primary elections. 

But in Clark County, Moms for Liberty — a conservative group that opposes LGBTQ+-related school books and policies, resists curriculum related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and has been called an anti-government extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — did better, with three candidates it supported advancing in the Clark County School Board and State Board of Education races. 

Some incumbents are on track to win their elections outright and retain their seats without needing to go on to a general election, according to the preliminary results. 

Under state law, nonpartisan municipal races including the school board and Board of Regents races can be decided in a primary if one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

Here’s what results look like statewide. 

Clark County School Board

Clark County School District trustees from left, Irene Bustamante Adams, Evelyn Garcia Morales, Lola Brooks, Brenda Zamora, Linda Cavazos and Katie Williams during a meeting on Nov. 9, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

District A

Emily Stevens, the vice president of a credit union, and Karl Catarata, the Nevada State director of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, are advancing in the District A race for the seat currently held by Trustee Lisa Guzman, who’s not seeking re-election. District A includes parts of Henderson and Boulder City.  

In addition to her work as the vice president of business development for SCE Credit Union, Stevens is the board chair for Clark High School’s Academy of Finance and sits on the advisory committees for Mission High School, UNLV and the nonprofit Communities in Schools of Southern Nevada. 

Catarata is a Clark County School District (CCSD) graduate and son of a teacher. He also serves as the chairman for the Nevada Commission on Mentoring. 

District B 

Moms for Liberty Clark County chapter member Lydia Dominguez and former educator Eileen Eady are advancing in the District B race to represent parts of the northwest valley, Indian Springs, Bunkerville and the Moapa area. 

According to her website, Dominguez is an Air Force veteran, a mother of two district students and was appointed in 2022 to the district’s Attendance Zoning Advisory Committee by District B Trustee Katie Williams. 

Eady, a political campaign consultant, is former teacher and paraprofessional with experience in large and small districts and in special education. She ran for the District F seat in 2018, but lost in the primary

District C

The District C race will be a rematch between Board President Evelyn Garcia Morales and Tameka Henry, who lost in the 2020 primary election. Garcia Morales has served on the board since 2021. 

Henry is the executive director of The Obodo Collective, a local nonprofit focused on supporting communities in Clark County through initiatives such as an urban farm and helping people apply for rental assistance.

District C includes parts of central Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

District E

Moms for Liberty Clark County Chapter Vice Chair Lorena Biassotti and former district special education teacher and education advocate Kamilah Bywaters are advancing in the District B race, which includes western parts of the valley and Summerlin. The seat is currently held by Trustee Lola Brooks who is not seeking re-election. 

Bywaters serves as the president of the Las Vegas Alliance of Black School Educators, as the education chair of the National Action Network, Las Vegas Chapter, and as a subcommittee member of the Nevada Office of Minority Health and Equity’s Black Leadership Advisory Council.

Biassotti, who also goes by her maiden name, Cardenas, is the founder of My Children’s Advocate, an organization that, like Moms for Liberty, uses public comment and social media to describe support and health care for transgender individuals as abuse and LGBTQ+ rights supporters of being pedophiles and groomers, and has been accused of intimidating school district staff and community members. 

Washoe County School Board

Washoe County School District board meeting on Nov. 22, 2022, in Reno. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

District A

Christine Hull, a former teacher who works as the program director for the Nevada Center for Civic Engagement, which focuses on bringing civics and history education to K-12 classrooms, is on track to unseat Trustee Jeff Church, according to preliminary election results. 

Church joined the board in 2021 and represents District A, which includes the south and southeast Reno and Incline Village. 

Church — a controversial, conservative figure on the board — was nearly censured in 2021, the year he joined the board, for possible board policy violations; the board recently allocated $500,000 to defend the district against Church’s “pattern of predatory litigation.” He was supported by Beadles.

District D

Beth Smith is on track to win her five-way race outright and retain her seat as the representative of District D, which includes central Reno. 

Smith was appointed to the board in 2021, and serves as the board’s president. 

One of her challengers included Christopher Tabarez. Beadles’ PAC sent out mailers on Tabarez’s behalf depicting Smith, a cancer survivor, as the grim reaper. Tabarez denied being involved with the mailer. 

District E

If Washoe County Trustee Alex Woodley can maintain his lead, he’ll have won his first school board election after fending off a Beadles-backed candidate, Bev Stenehjem. 

Woodley was appointed to the board in 2023 to fill the seat left vacant by Nevada Assemblywoman Angie Taylor (D-Reno).

Woodley works as the City of Reno’s parking and code enforcement director. He was the former president of the Education Alliance of Washoe County. He represents District E, which includes north Reno, Verdi and Mogul.

District G

Trustee Diane Nicolet and challenger Perry Rosenstein are moving on to the general election. 

Nicolet was appointed to the board in 2016, and later retained her seat in the 2020 election. She represents District G, an at-large area comprising the western portion of Washoe County and Incline Village. 

Rosenstein is the founder of two technology businesses and is a Washoe County substitute teacher, according to his website

State Board of Education

Nevada State Board of Education President Felicia Ortiz, left, and members Tim Hughes and Maggie Carlton attend a board meeting in Las Vegas on June 14, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

District 1

Tricia Braxton, a former private school teacher, and Tim Underwood, the senior adviser of the Moms for Liberty Clark County chapter, are advancing to the general election. 

Braxton works for the UNR Extension Office in Las Vegas, and was previously a bank branch manager and New York police officer, according to her LinkedIn profile

Moms for Liberty that believes that the Clark County School District policies and materials are part of a conspiracy to encourage students to question their gender identities. During a May 9 board meeting, he accused the district of “sexually abusing children,” and likened library books with LGBTQ+ themes as “pornography.”

District 2

Incumbent Angela Orr and challenger Paul “Doc” Davis are advancing to the general election.

Orr was appointed to the state board in 2023 by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo. She is the principal of Doral Academy of Northern Nevada, a charter school in Reno, and has been an educator and education advocate for more than 20 years. 

Davis, a Sparks resident, is a longtime professor who has taught at various Nevada institutions including UNR and Truckee Meadows Community College, both in Reno. 

District 3

René Cantú, a state board member, and former CCSD trustee Danielle Ford are advancing to the general election. 

Cantú is running for a different seat because of redistricting. He’s the founding executive director of Jobs for Nevada's Graduates, a nonprofit organization established in 2014 that helps students meet graduation and career goals. 

Ford is a former trustee turned podcast host. She’s a Nevada native, former CCSD student and has two adult children who went through CCSD schools. 

District 4

Timothy Hughes, who currently holds a seat on the board but ran unopposed for a different seat because of redistricting, won his seat outright. Hughes is a vice president for TNTP (formerly known as The New Teacher Project), a nonprofit working to ensure students from minority groups and low-income backgrounds get access to effective teachers.

Board of Regents

A Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents meeting at UNLV on Dec. 1, 2023. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)

District 1

Candidates Carlos Fernandez and Matthew Bowen are continuing on to the general election, competing for District 1 seat, which is currently held by Regent Laura Perkins. Perkins opted not to seek re-election and ran for state Senate District 4 instead, but lost in a primary against the incumbent, Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas).

Fernandez is currently the executive director of The American Institute of Architects, and a former lobbyist for the Las Vegas Chamber. 

Bowen is a sales professional with experience as an insurance agent and financial planning, according to his LinkedIn profile

District 1 includes parts of North Las Vegas. 

District 4

Two Clark County K-12 educators are advancing in the Board of Regents’ District 4 race, beating the incumbent, Donald Sylvantee McMichael. 

Tonia Sutton-Holmes serves as the chair of the State Public Charter School Authority’s board. She previously served on the State Board of Education in a governor-appointed position and is a former Clark County School District teacher, former executive director of Teach Plus Nevada and a national board certified teacher.

Aaron Bautista is a special education teacher at Mater Academy Mountain Vista, a K-8 charter school in east Las Vegas. He has also worked at Legacy Traditional Schools and CCSD. He serves on the city of Las Vegas’ Neighborhood Partners Fund Board and Our Future East Las Vegas Advisory Board. 

District 4 is in east Las Vegas. 

District 9 

Incumbent Carol Del Carlo, an Incline Village resident who has been on the board since 2016,  is set to win her race against two opponents with more than 50 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results. Her experience includes working for General Motors, serving as secretary for the Nevada Republican Party and as a member of the Nevada Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. 

District 12

Incumbent Amy Carvalho, the current chair who has been on the board since 2018, is facing off against her only challenger, Jonathan Maxham, a doctor of osteopathic medicine in Henderson, in the general election. District 12 includes parts of Henderson. 

This story was updated on 6/13/24 at 6:00 p.m. to correct Tonia Sutton-Holmes’ professional experience.


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